Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2008)

ALEX GIBNEY

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

USA, 2008, , , , Screenplay by , based on the writings of Cinematography by Produced by , , , Alex Gibney, , , Music by Film Editing by Alison Ellwood. 

Even those of us who have never read know plenty about him, particularly after popularized him with his performance in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, but here Alex Gibney means to make the definitive non-fiction summation of the writer’s career.  Thompson first made waves as a journalist whose writing was irreverent enough to gain notice but intelligent enough to still keep him hired by the nation’s top publications; his highly praised articles eventually led to his covering the 1972 Nixon re-election for Rolling Stone, which he later published in book form and was the highlight of a decade of best-sellers that made him beloved to readers and notorious among those who knew him.  Accompanying his brash, bold writing in which he wielded his words with the force and precision of an expert swordsman, Thompson also loved to indulge in booze, drugs, and impromptu shooting contests, his personal habits ruining his first marriage and, eventually as he aged, contributing to the decline of his career as he grew older and saw his most popular days fade behind him.  Friends and family appear on film, including Depp who also reads excerpts from Thompson’s articles and books over the soundtrack, and Gibney is, as always, an expert at compiling a narrative that gives you the whole story without feeling like a bland biography.  All that said, this one’s really only for fans who want to relive all the great moments of their favourite writer, there’s not too much that you learn here that you didn’t already know, nor is there a particular spin on the subject that sets it apart from any other film or article you’ve experienced about him.

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